State Assembly vote could reduce unemployment benefits, tighten qualification requirements  

People in Wisconsin would receive fewer unemployment benefits and face stricter qualification requirements under a package of bills slated for votes in the state Assembly today, the Associated Press reports.  

Unemployment recipients in Wisconsin currently must perform four work-search activities each week. Under the bills that will be voted on today, employers would be able to report recipients who decline or don’t show up to an interview. Individuals who have been reported multiple times could have their benefits rescinded. 

Another measure would tie the number of weeks someone can receive unemployment benefits to the statewide unemployment rate. With current rates under 3%, recipients would be limited to 14 weeks of benefits. The existing standard of 26 weeks of benefits would only apply if rates rise above 9%, which hasn’t happened since the 2008 financial crisis.  

Other proposals in the package would enact stricter identity verification checks for unemployment benefits, prohibit local governments from using taxpayer money to create guaranteed income programs, and require the Department of Health Services every six months to review the eligibility of people participating in Medicaid programs reserved for low-income people, family caretakers, and pregnant women. 

Major conservative business lobbyists including the National Federation of Independent Business and Opportunity Solutions Project have endorsed many of the bills, while local unions and the state League of Women Voters oppose them.